Sporty future mapped out for little Ben at age of one

Graeme 'Yer Man' Cousins
Graeme 'Yer Man' Cousins

There was a large crowd gathered for the big occasion.

They cheered on the pumped up participants as they crashed and tangled with spectacular abandon.

Then after five minutes there was an almighty collision and one of the combatants, with his eyes pleading innocence, was singled out and issued with a card.

I’m talking, of course, about Ben’s first birthday party on Sunday.

A children’s birthday party was just the tonic after watching Ulster bow out of the Heineken Cup the night before, thanks to a travesty of a refereeing decision which saw Ulster reduced to 14 men before the match had even got going. To add insult to injury they ran out of beer halfway through the first half.

It wasn’t all bad on the sporting front with football results going the way of my two favourite teams in blue.

Glenavon battled their way to the Irish Cup final with a 3-1 win over Crusaders. Meanwhile Leicester secured promotion to the premiership for the first time in 10 years.

The Irish Cup final has come a bit too soon for Ben, but he’ll be able to watch it on TV and try to pick out his dad in the sea of blue and white.

As for Leicester, I’m hoping we stay in the Premier League long enough for me to take him over and see them.

He’s been something of a lucky mascot for the Foxes since getting a Leicester City babygrow for Christmas, his wearing of the mini-kit coinciding with a club-record unbeaten streak.

Unfortunately, he’s now grown out of it. I’m worried the same thing might end up happening with the football club his dad has chosen for him to support.

It’s been hard to keep up with the rate the young man has been developing. It seems like only a few weeks ago that he was cradled in my arms supping milk, now he’s banging his spoon on the table demanding Ready Brek, stew and Muller Corners, sometimes all at the same time.

It’s hard to believe 365 days have passed since Benjamin Cousins entered the world.

He’s been relatively trouble free for the past year, taking everything in his stride, including striding.

He’s as happy as Larry strolling around the living room, kitchen and hallway, pausing from time to time to investigate items that he finds about the floor, occasionally letting out a roar of approval if he finds a day-old Cheerio. Ben is the personification of calm while his sister Lucy bounds about the house with hop, skip and jump. Given his high metabolism Ben’s trademark manoeuvre is a plop, snack and a dump.

Lucy has a similarly fast throughput of food although she is excellent at retaining information. She’s like a cross between a parrot and an elephant in that she never forgets what you tell her and can mimic your sentences word for word. For example when football is on the telly, Lucy will say, “Come on Leicester, get a goal”, when rugby is on she’ll cry, “Come on Ulster, get a try” and when Coronation Street is on she’ll say “Turn that rubbish off.”

For his first birthday, it was plain to see that Ben has three career paths available to him. My dad got him a rugby ball, his other granddad got him a set of racing cars while I bought him a football. He’s either going to be a rugby player, a racing driver or someone who gets paid a fortune to fall over and speak in cliches.